Gleanings of the Week Ending July 13, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

We organized a conference for 570 people without using plastic. Here’s how it went – It’s hard to do anything without plastic….but we’ll find ways eventually. I am focused on the ‘single use’ items first but when I can I choose materials other than plastic even for more durable items.

Arches National Park Recognized As "Dark Sky" Park – Now for my husband to find a way to get there with his telescope….

Timber Rattlesnakes: Cool Facts and an Uncertain Future – This snake is found in western Maryland….not in the county where I live. But we always mention it to students interested in snakes. This article provided some additional ‘cool facts’ to pass along.

Macro Photos of Water Droplets Reveal the Overlooked Beauty of Nature – Beautiful images in water droplets - And the artist included some pictures of the set up he uses to get the pictures!

In an Era of Extreme Weather, Concerns Grow Over Dam Safety – There have been dams in the news in recent years (like the Oroville Dam spillway failure in 2017). In our area, some small dams have been removed. But there are 91,000 dams in the US that are aging and need repairs. It’s going to be expensive…and the extreme weather we’ve been having probably makes it more urgent…but the funding is just not forthcoming so far.

Chiggers are the worst – Agreed.

Photo of the Week – July 5, 2019 – Milkweed in bloom. This is a blog post from The Prairie Ecologist…showing some bugs too. No Monarch butterflies though.

8 ways wild animals beat the heat – The mucous that hippos secrete was new to me…it’s acts as sunscreen, antibiotic, moisturizer, and water repellant. Now that we’ve learned that the sunscreen we’ve been using may be toxic to corals (and maybe to us too), perhaps we could develop an alternative by learning more about the hippo mucous.

Winter Bee Declines Greatest in 13 Years: Survey – Habitat loss, pesticides, Varroa mites….it adds up. Evidently in recent years the strategies that beekeepers have been using to deter mites have not worked as well. Some crops rely more on commercial beekeepers than others. Almonds, cherries, and blueberries are mentioned as examples.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Flowers – Last but not least this week…..birds and flowers. Enjoy the photographs.

Gleanings of the Week Ending June 22, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

The royal tombs of Ur reveal Mesopotamia's ancient splendor – From National Geographic - Leonard Woolley’s excavation of Ur in the 1920s.

Astronomers Worry New SpaceX Satellite Constellation Could Impact Research | Smart News | Smithsonian – Are telescopes on the surface of the earth doomed? Will we only be able to study the universe from space?

Americans May Be Ingesting Thousands of Microplastics Every Year | Smart News | Smithsonian and Hawaii’s newest black sand beach already contains plastic pollution – Plastics everywhere...and there is growing evidence that it is negatively impacting life on our planet. What are we doing about it?

Image of the Day: Hot Stripes | The Scientist Magazine® - Did you know that zebras can raise the black stripes separately from the white stripes!

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week: Communication – National Geographic Society – Birds…never can resist including a wild bird photo collections.

BBC - Future - How modern life is transforming the human skeleton – The way we live – written in our bones.

New Jersey 100% Renewable Energy Plan -- More Fiber, Less Fluff | CleanTechnica – Hurray for New Jersey….having a tangible plan to use zero carbon energy by 2050.

Eliminating packaging is a good start – but here's what supermarkets should do to stop harming the planet – I’ve made it a point to reduce the amount of packaging when I shop; I am way past the easy things…and up against the way groceries operate in my area. I buy local produce through my CSA for 5 months of the year (a good way to eliminate packaging, eat seasonally, and reduce food transportation costs) but the other 7 months of the year, I’m back to the typical grocery store for produce.

How old are your organs?  -- ScienceDaily - To scientists' surprise, organs are a mix of young and old cells: Scientists discover cellular structures with extreme longevity, leading to insights for age-associated diseases.

Tropical Cyclones are Stalling More – Hurricane Harvey (Texas)….Tropical storm Fay (Florida)…Hurricane Florence (North Carolina) – All three storms caused a lot of damage to the coasts when they lingered over the coastal area becoming prolific rain producers. Is this the new normal for Atlantic Hurricanes?

Gleanings of the Week Ending January 19, 2019

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

After More Than 4,000 Years, Vibrant Egyptian Tomb Sees the Light of Day: NPR – Hopefully they will take steps to keep the colors vibrant now that the tomb is open to people and light.

The Bizarre and Disturbing Life of Sea Cucumbers – Cool Green Science – Way more complicated than they appear at first glance.

Norway's Energy-Positive Movement to Fight Climate Change - The Atlantic – Norway has some buildings that generate more energy than they use.

Life Deep Underground Is Twice the Volume of the Oceans: Study | The Scientist Magazine® - That’s a massive among of carbon in life that we know very little about….so many unexpected and unusual organisms.

Foods that lower blood pressure | Berkeley Wellness – And the list even includes dark chocolate!

Rising Waters Are Drowning Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor – This article includes time phased projections from 2018 to 2100…lots of track is going to need to be moved – or some other flood mitigation will need to be built.

Google Virtual Tour Preserves Collections Destroyed in Brazil Museum Fire | Smart News | Smithsonian – Some heartening recovery from the tragedy of the fire…Google’s virtual tour work, 1,500 pieces recovered from the debris, and a growing collection of photographs and video clips of the museum the way it was.

Soggy 2018 for the Eastern U.S. – An article from mid-December…showing just how wet we were in 2018. We live between Baltimore and Washington DC….soggy indeed.

New houseplant can clean your home's air -- ScienceDaily – Our houses have become so tightly sealed that concentrations of chemicals that are hard to filter out can accumulate. Maybe ‘engineered’ plants can be a solution.

Periodic graphics: How different light bulbs work – The trend is toward less cost/hour….more hours. Hurray for the LEDs that are not as blue as the compact fluorescents!

Foggy Morning

One morning recently, it was warmer (in the 40s and warming to the 50s) and the forest was full of fog.

The forest layers look different. The forest’s edge that is only a neighbor’s yard away disappears in the mists making it harder to determine distance. Rather than lemon light of just after sunrise, everything is shades of bluish gray.

IMG_0044.jpg

The forest does not look as friendly in the fog. The birds were staying quiet even though it was their normal time to be active.

IMG_0043.jpg

There is a coldness to the scene that belies the warmer temperature and is not comfortable – except from the warmth of my office – which is where I was standing to take both pictures through the window. It was a good morning to enjoy being indoors.

Cold and Blustery at Mt. Pleasant

Last week, the Howard County Conservancy hosted a Weather Conference for representative 6th grade students from 10 middle schools in the county….about 100 students with their teachers.

2018 11 IMG_3370.jpg

It was sunny…but cold with wind gusts up to 50 mph. The plan to have students interact with tree experts while they worked on a large tulip poplar was nixed because of the potential of branches falling with the higher winds.

I was bundled up and outside for most of the conference – directing groups of students to their sessions and directing small groups to the County’s Emergency Services Command Unit. When all was quiet, I took a few pictures. I like the colors of the ferns as some fronds succumb to the cold.

There was a pine cone that seemed to be glowing from within because of the way the sun was shining on it.

2018 11 IMG_3368.jpg

The tulip poplars are releasing their seeds.

2018 11 IMG_3373.jpg

I am always surprised when I see the heron sculpture. I know it’s there but somehow forget.

2018 11 IMG_3381.jpg

There were some small branches torn off by the buses making the tight turn after they let the students off close to the building.

2018 11 IMG_3386.jpg
20181128_095149.jpg

There were two things blooming: a witch hazel where most of the petals had already fallen (it will be forming seed pods) and some unknown flower that was in the flower bed near the flower pot people. The flower is probably warped by the cold but is still a welcome bit of color in the wintery landscape.

2018 11 IMG_3395.jpg

By 1 PM the students were climbing on buses and the clean up of the big room was underway.

Gleanings of the Week Ending May 26, 2018

The items below were ‘the cream’ of the articles and websites I found this past week. Click on the light green text to look at the article.

The Secret Science of Shell Seeking – Shells and Sanibel, Florida. Hopefully the sea will not become so acidic that shellfish become less numerous over time.

Old sea ice continues disappearing from the Arctic Ocean | NOAA Climate.gov – Quite a difference in the amount of old sea ice between 1984 and 2018. It’s tough to be a polar bear or any other creature that depends on sea ice.

The secret to honing kid’s language and literacy -- ScienceDaily – Children need enough sleep, playing games, and time without distractions in the background as well as having books read to them…to encourage language and literacy development.

Compound Interest - The chemistry behind how dishwashers clean – The post didn’t address why glass becomes etched by dishwashers over time…so I was a little disappointed. Otherwise, seemed to cover the bases.

Twin Satellites Map 14 Years of Freshwater Changes: Image of the Day – Analysis of observations from multiple satellites to determine where freshwater is changing on Earth. One of the sources of data was GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) that collected data through 2017. The follow-on was launched this past week (on May 22) - Meet NASA’s New Dynamic Duo: A Pair of Climate Change-Tracking Satellites | Smart News | Smithsonian

Fox Photos Capture the Diverse Personalities of the Wild Animals – We occasional see fox around – entering or leaving the forest behind our house. I’ve never managed to photograph one.

BBC - Future - Pain bias: The health inequality rarely discussed – I’m glad I am healthy….but wonder what will happen if I ever do need medical attention. This post is part of series from BBC Future about how men and women experience the medical system differently.

Climate change broadens threat of emerald ash borer -- ScienceDaily – Here in Maryland, our ash trees are dying now. Many have been cut down this year.

Buyer beware: Some water-filter pitchers much better at toxin removal: Study finds some purifiers remove twice the microcystins from risky water -- ScienceDaily – Evidently the slower filters (and often more expensive) do a better job.

Thomas Jefferson and the telegraph: highlights of the U.S. weather observer program | NOAA Climate.gov – A little history of weather observations in the US….the earliest being in the 1640s. Thomas Jefferson bought his first thermometer about the time he wrote the Declaration of Independence and his barometer about the time he signed it….and maintained records until 1816. George Washington also took regular observations….the last entry being the day before he died.